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Topic: Refugees & Immigration KS1

Recommended Children’s Books about Refugees and Immigration 

We’ve put together a list of recommended books about refugees for primary school-aged children. The children’s books on this list can help to explore the refugee experience and the topic of immigration in an age-appropriate way.

NB: This recommended booklist is aimed at children ages 4-7 (KS1). If you are looking for older children’s books for this topic, we have a separate KS2 refugee booklist here.

Picturebook

This is the story of a bird that fits in your hand flying halfway around the world looking for a place to nest. This is the story of a young girl from northern Africa fleeing halfway around the world looking for a place of peace. This is the story of Bird. This is the story of Leila. This is the story of a chance encounter and a long journey home.

Picturebook

The perfect story to open up conversations about war and migration with little ones, anywhere in the world.

In a war-torn city, a little girl tends to the last garden. But everyone is leaving and soon the girl has to leave too. The garden is all alone now but soon the seeds scatter throughout and the roots take hold.

Inspired by true events in Syria and war gardens around the world and throughout history, The Last Garden is a thoughtful, tender story of hope, touching on issues of conflict and migration, from a talented debut picture book pairing.

Chapter book

A heartwarming story about a feisty young Polish girl determined to be unhappy in her new life in England – but who finds herself settling in despite herself.

Kasia wishes that she and her mum hadn’t moved to the UK – she misses Poland and all her old friends, and most of all she misses her grandparents. As the long school holidays stretch out in front of her, Kasia wonders how she’ll fill them: her mum has promised to take her out for some day trips, but the rest of the time she’ll be at work. Then Babcia and Dzadek arrive for a surprise visit, and Kasia is delighted! As she proudly shows her grandparents round her new town, Kasia realizes that maybe she’s happier here than she thought.

Picturebook

When Polar Bear and his friends are swept away from their icy home, they hope to find refuge in a new land. But when they are turned away from one new place after another, they start to doubt that they will ever find somewhere they will be made welcome.

In this exceptional book, author-illustrator Barroux has crafted a powerful story with a twist ending about hugely important and current issues. A great opportunity for parents to discuss with children the plight of migrants and refugees, as well as global warming, in a gentle, open-ended way.

Picturebook

A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make. From the winner of the V&A Student Illustration Award 2016.

Non-fiction

Who are refugees? Why are they called that word? Why do they need to leave their country?

In this simple, graphic and bold picture book for young children, author/illustrator Elise Gravel explores what it means to be a refugee. This book is the perfect tool to introduce an important and timely topic to children.

Picturebook

A powerful and necessary picture book – the journey of a child forced to become a refugee when war destroys everything she has ever known.

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came. Imagine it turned your town to rubble. Imagine going on a long and difficult journey – all alone. Imagine finding no welcome at the end of it. Then imagine a child who gives you something small but very, very precious…

When the government refused to allow 3000 child refugees to enter this country in 2016, Nicola Davies was so angry she wrote a poem. It started a campaign for which artists contributed drawings of chairs, symbolising a seat in a classroom, education, kindness, the hope of a future. The poem has become this book, movingly illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, which should prove a powerful aid for explaining the ongoing refugee crisis to younger readers.

Picturebook

When a strange-looking animal arrives pulling a big suitcase, the other animals are curious. What on earth could be inside that suitcase? A teacup? Maybe. A table and chair? Perhaps. A whole home and hillside with trees? This stranger must be fibbing! But when the animals break into the suitcase and discover a very special photograph, they begin to understand what the strange creature has been through, and together they create a very special welcome present . . .

Picturebook

A poetic, powerful story about a little brother and a big sister finding a new home and new hope after being rescued from a boat lost in the dark sea.
A little brother and his big sister try their best to settle in a new home, where they have nothing left from before except each other. The little one makes new friends and quickly learns to laugh again but his sister remains haunted by the shadows of their past and hides away in their broken house. Trying to help his sister, the little one catches a butterfly for her and brings it inside the house. His sister knows that she needs to set the butterfly free … but that would mean going outside. In taking the first steps to face her fears and save the butterfly, she also begins the process of saving herself.

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